Milwaukee, Wis., June 4, 2015 – West Bend’s signature downtown park will receive a significant upgrade through a special project developed by the West Bend Community Foundation in partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation as a lasting gift to the people of West Bend.

In celebration of its 100th year of service, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation is providing regional gifts to help create special public spaces in each of the four counties it serves. The centennial gift of $200,000 is supporting the West Bend Community Foundation’s effort to renovate Old Settlers Park, a triangular public space at the north end of Main Street in downtown West Bend. The work is being done in partnership with the City of West Bend.

“Public gathering spaces can instill civic pride and offer a powerful sense of community,” said Ellen M. Gilligan, Greater Milwaukee Foundation president and CEO. “Through our proud partnership with the West Bend Community Foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation is excited to bring new luster to an historic park known today for its vibrant activity.”

The improvements to the park will include replacement of the existing 144-square-foot gazebo with a 442-square foot gazebo that will also serve as a band shelter. The park’s walking patio area will be expanded with new concrete, and the existing timber walls will be replaced with interlocking brick. The project will add a third access point to the park as well as landscaping and an irrigation system.
The 11,000-square-foot Old Settlers Park is a hub of downtown activity, including Music on Main – a weekly summer concert series – and a thriving farmers’ market. The renovation complements the community’s comprehensive downtown development plan. This includes improving pedestrian access to the adjacent cultural district anchored by the Museum of Wisconsin Art, enhancing the backs of business facades and upgrading nearby Eisenbahn Trail.

“This renovation will allow the appearance and functionality of Old Settlers Park to match its place and prominence in the community,” said Chris Chlupp, vice president of the West Bend Community Foundation. “Everyone in West Bend can be proud of the generosity that has brought this project to bear.”

Physical work on the project is expected to begin in September at the conclusion of summer activities. Completion is scheduled for spring 2016.

The West Bend Community Foundation is a supporting organization and regional partner of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

 For a century, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has helped individuals, families and organizations realize their philanthropic goals and make a difference in the community, during their lifetimes and for future generations. The Foundation consists of more than 1,200 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable causes of their choice. The Foundation also deploys both human and financial resources to address the most critical needs of the community and ensure the vitality of the region. Established in 1915, the Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the world. With total assets of more than $847 million, it is also among the largest.